Friday, October 26, 2012

Texas: Proposal to move College Station recall from political to judicial (malfeasance) standard

As far as I know, this is the first time there will be a vote in a jurisdiction to change a local recall from the political recall to the judicial recall or malfeasance standard.

This is due to an effort last year to recall members of the College Station council (the effort was defeated at the polls). The newspaper is editorializing in favor of the idea:

• Number 1 -- This amendment would strengthen the city's recall provisions, requiring those seeking a recall of a council member to have a legitimate reason for the recall, such as incompetency, official misconduct or malfeasance in office. The reason for the recall would have to be prominently listed on each page of a petition voters are asked to sign.
This obviously stems from the misguided efforts by residents of Wellborn and political opportunists to recall several members of the College Station council over their vote to annex Wellborn.
The proposed amendment also would extend some of the timing on recall requests. The city secretary now has five days to certify the signatures on recall petitions; the change would give the city secretary 15 business days to forward the petitions to the council. Also, current provisions give council members facing recall five days to resign or force an election on the recall. The proposed change gives the council members seven calendar days.
• Number 2 -- This amendment also stems from the Wellborn recall attempt and would clarify a special election to fill a vacancy on the council if the mayor is no longer on the council. Under the proposal, the remaining council members would have to call such an election. If all council members are removed, then it would fall to, in order, the city manager, the city secretary, the city attorney or the presiding judge of the municipal court to call the election.

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